Efe Ajagba, the Nigerian heavyweight contender with an 18-1 record and 13 KOs, is gearing up for a fight that could lead to huge things in the future as he fights Australian Joe Goodall (10-1-1, 9 KOs). The press conference took place today for the event taking place on Saturday, November 4th, at the Tahoe Blue Event Center in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
The theme of the press conference was Ajagba and Goodall's history from the amateurs nearly a decade ago in the semifinals of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. Goodall beat Ajagba, despite being an underdog going into this bout. It was clear that Ajagba had not forgotten that fight.
“I lost to him in the Commonwealth Games in 2014," said Ajagba at the official press conference. "So, that’s the guy I lost to. This fight will be a rematch for me. This fight means a lot to me because of that loss.”
Albeit, Ajagba is not one for big quotes before his fights - and is somewhat leaning into it with his nickname 'The Silent Roller'. Though Ajagba offered some insightful thoughts, he still kept his words to a minimum as if to play up his moniker of saying very little but being very intimidating in the ring.
"The ‘Silent Roller’ is my nickname, so I’m going to come out as a beast in the fight," said Ajagba. "I’m silent outside, but in the ring, I’m a different guy."
Goodall seems to see this fight as his ticket to bigger and better things. The bout is for a secondary form of the WBC heavyweight title and given the unknown future of heavyweight Tyson Fury's career, who holds the WBC heavyweight title. Fury had an awful performance against Francis Ngannou, in which he was dropped and didn't look the same as he had in the Deontay Wilder trilogy. It appears Goodall sees this as a ticket to a potential world title fight. Goodall knocked out Stephan Shaw in July and now is looking to defeat one of the most active fighters in the heavyweight division in Ajagba.
"I’m going to come as a beast in the ring," said Goodall. "I’m going to come with everything, the training, the sparring, everything I did. I’ve been knocking people out in sparring. I’m going to put all of that in the fight."
The winner of this fight is destined for something bigger in the lifeblood of the sport - the heavyweight division. For Ajagba it is to prove he is a top-ten heavyweight as he has had a great bounce-back year after losing to Frank Sanchez, and for Goodall, he is looking to prove that the Shaw fight wasn't a fluke and that he is one of the best heavyweights in the world.
The bout is for respect. Ajagba is looking to right a past wrong from the amateurs and Goodall is looking to make a name for himself.
Mike Tyson famously lost to Henry Tillman in the amateurs, but stopped him as a pro, but will that be the case on Saturday? Only time will tell.